The Australian Industry Trade College (AITC) officially announces the retirement of CEO Mark Hands who will conclude his dedicated 17-year tenure with the organisation at the end of 2024.

The AITC is a deliberately different high school that helps young people find their purpose and proudly pursue a pathway in industry, at school in Years 10 to 12. There are currently six schools across southeast Queensland.

A typical school term consists of 5 weeks in the classroom and 5 weeks out in work experience or placement, training, or in a paid apprenticeship/traineeship, allowing students to learn firsthand what would be required of them in that industry.

A Brisbane Grammar School Old Boy, Mark has a broad history across the construction industry, youth work and education. He was the principal of an independent P–12 school in Queensland for 16 years before founding what was then the Australian Trade College in 2006.

Mark first established the AITC to develop high calibre, industry-driven students who wanted to pursue a hands-on pathway.

Ric Roach, Chair of the AITC Board, expressed heartfelt appreciation for Mark’s contributions, stating, “Mark Hands has been a visionary leader for the AITC, and we are deeply grateful for his unwavering commitment and dedication to our College.”

“His passion to promote an industry career as a first choice has been inspiring, and his legacy will endure in the generations of students whose lives he has impacted.”

Mark joined the AITC to make a great difference in the lives of others “which can be achieved when we work collectively”, he states.

“The AITC is the culmination of this principle and while there continued to work to do, I am thrilled with what has been accomplished over 17 years and I am proud of the AITC’s commitment to young people and reputation,” Mark added.

The AITC Board will initiate a thorough search for a new CEO who will build on the strong foundation Mark has laid.

Mr Hands’ retirement marks the end of an era, with the AITC poised to embrace the opportunities and challenges of the future under new leadership.

The College remains committed to its mission of providing exceptional industry education and will continue to deliver on its promise to prepare students for successful industry careers.

Beyond 2024, Mark will continue his connections vicariously with the AITC through involvement with the Emu Gully Adventure Education Group and New Hope Cambodia.

The College is planning a special farewell event next year in Mark’s honour to celebrate his outstanding contributions to the AITC.

Mark, for everything you have done and all the people you have inspired, we say “thank you”!

For media inquiries and additional information, please contact:


Nicole de Vries
Director of Brand and Community
Australian Industry Trade College
0423 852 969